I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lemon Bars and Chocolate Ice Cream- Not mixed together

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Lemon Squares are bite size pieces of pie

I do not have a particularly favorite season and I particularly do not really care. But this past winter, after being hit with snow for five straight weeks, can be best described as…craptastic. Come to think of it, I hate snow, because I do not know what purpose it serves. I mean back in grade school, snow was great best you got a free day to sleep and do absolutely nothing. Now, it is like…I need to get to work and plowing snow? That is some serious work. I feel it is so counterproductive because it is going to melt and disappear, but I can not do anything, until the snow is gone. Anyone that romanticize about snow and say that they love it and it is pretty and beautiful has never had to shove a driveway and does not live in the Northeast. I hate you.
Anyways, the barrage of snow this winter has especially taken its toll on me and I am looking forward to spring and the summer. Although lemons are available all year round…well pretty much everything is nowadays, lemons, or Meyer Lemons to be precise are technically in season around March, which is a total tease because it is never warm in March. But the vibrant yellow lemons makes you think of spring and warm weather and makes life and the cold a bit more bearable. My favorite thing to do with lemons is to make lemon bars because it is a quick and simple treat that is good to eat on your own or to a party and impress people, especially girls (But, being the shy loser I am, this hasn’t happened yet, but in my mind it totally works because I saw it on TV once and TV never lies to you). I have tried many lemon bar recipes but my favorite is the one from David Lebovitz, in which in another sci-fi Stargate world, I we would be total buds and I would never explain and find perfectly normal to have a chocolate drawer. The lemon bar recipe, although lacking chocolate is not lacking any lemon flavors and it perfectly embodies the sour and essence of the lemon. The kicker in the recipe, is it uses a whole lemon, peel and all which is great because you get little bits of chewy slightly bitter peel. The lemon bars just scream warm weather and comfort and I suggest everyone to start pumping these out, besides citrus prevents scurvy and we all want to prevent that. 

Though I make and eat ice cream all year round, I start kicking it into high gear the second I can rock shorts. So when it bizarrely hit 75 degrees, before slapping on the shorts, I made sure that the ice cream bowl was in the freezer and I have enough heavy cream to start churning out ice cream. I have been having chocolate cravings like a pregnant lady so I naturally decided to christen the ice cream making high season with a chocolate ice cream. I did not just do any old chocolate ice cream, I added in Cocoa nibs which turned the chocolate volume from 10 to 11 (This is Spinal Tap reference). I had a bag of dried tart cherries that I have been wanting to use so taking a page from David Lebovitz, I took his idea for his red wine syrup and rehydrated the cherries in the red wine syrup which was a great idea because it even after freezing the ice cream, the cherries did not turn into chewy, rock hard nubs, they were tender and the slight tartness and the fruity wine paired perfectly with the chocolate. I used a Callebaut 72% for this and but I think a milk chocolate would work well too. Use a good quality chocolate if you can get your hands on it, you should not subject yourself to crappy chocolate!

Recipes after the Jump!

Chocolate Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
2 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
5 oz bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Warm 1 cup of cream with cocoa powder in medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to boil then reduce heat and gently simmer for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in remaining cup of cream. Pour mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as much as possible. Set mesh strainer atop the bowl. Warm milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Stir mixture constantly over medium heat making sure the scrape the bottom and corners, until the mixture thickens and reaches nappe consistency. Pour custard through strainer and stir it into the chocolate until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Continue to stir over ice bath until cool. Refrigerate the mixture to cool thoroughly and then freeze it in your ice cream machine per the manufacturer’s instructions.

**Add 1/4 cup of Cocoa Nibs just before you stop the ice cream machine as well as the re hydrated dried cherries if using

Rehydrated Tart Cherries
Adapted from David Lebovitz

1/2 cup of Dried Tart Cherries
1/2 cup (125ml) red wine
3 tablespoons (50g) sugar

1. In a non-reactive skillet, cook the red wine and sugar until the it boils and quickly add in the dried cherries.  Remove from heat and let the cherries completely cool down before using in ice cream. For best results, let the cherries sit in the red wine and sugar mixture overnight.


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